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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Meadows Coffeehouse open mic night gives students the opportunity to express themselves, connect

Lynn Jafarzadeh / Hilltop Views
Bradley Burnett reads a series of poems in front of the crowd at open mic night in Meadows Coffeehouse.

Meadows Coffeehouse hosted the second episode of its Coffee Shop Series on Oct. 3. Last month, this collaborative effort between Bon Appetit and the University Programming Board (UPB) hosted an event featuring professional comedians Tai Nguyen and Aaron Cheatham for  comedy night; now the floor has been opened for staff and students to perform with an open mic night. 

The open mic night initially seemed to draw less interest than the comedy night; only one student had pre-registered to perform. This highlights the vulnerability and nerves it takes to stand in front of a group of peers and genuinely put yourself out there. 

However, that changed when Wanye’ Tate from UPB, one of the hosts of the event, engaged students with an open dialogue about the Netflix series “Encounters,” which entertains audiences with aliens and government corruption, and his opinion on how often the most important news is overshadowed by distractions. Tate demonstrated the casual nature of the event and its focus on expression and connection, encouraging students to come up and talk about anything. 

Their original hesitation and nerves diminished, one by one students began to step up to the mic. Student performances ranged from monologues about the disturbing origins and influences of modern superhero stories to a Q&A to an original poetry reading. Each performer was rewarded with a voucher for a free drink and sandwich at Meadows. 

Danielle Ford, who was originally not planning to perform, reflects on the stage fright often associated with public performance and her own motivation to step up.

“I’ve hosted some open mics,” Ford said. “I’ve been to plenty, and a lot of the times not too many people step up. You know, the fear of speaking in front of people and sharing your work is scary. I was like: let me liven this up a bit and contribute.”

Danielle Ford reads “I love you times 400,” an original poem about her love for and difficult relationship with track. (Lynn Jafarzadeh / Hilltop Views)

Ford read three original poems, including her poem “I love you times 400,” which is about her love for track. The poem focused on the parallels between her experience with track and that of a romantic relationship, cleverly making references to 100, 200, 300 and 400 meter races, and using them to express both the magnitude of her love and different stages of relationships. The poem’s theme reflects on the young and developing love Ford experienced for the sport and later the hardships she faced in her athletic life. Ford also commented that while she identifies as straight, the poem is directed towards a woman because her love and relationship with track is different than her love for a man. 

Though daunting, events like an open mic night play a crucial role in campus vibrancy. They give students a platform to express themselves both casually and creatively, as well as connect with each other and build community.

“I think [this kind of event] really helps with the whole community thing,” Ford said. “Aside from being a writer I have basketball practice. It really does contribute to the notion that there’s something for everybody.”

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